There’s Science and There’s Science! Part III April 15 2016
There’s Science and There’s Science! Part III
In Waldorf high schools, anatomy, physics, chemistry, geology, immunology, astronomy, personal health and physiology, and many other sciences are studied in earnest. Resonating in the hearts and minds of high students are the fading memories of the childhood that taught them how to be crackerjack observers. They love the Earth and feel connected to the Earth through their acute observations and explorations.
Earth Science explores the whole gamut of the geology curriculum in a Waldorf High School. The book keeps the tone of respectful wonder that seems richly appropriate given the sacredness of all that the Earth gives to human beings.
In each Waldorf school, science is woven tightly into the whole curriculum. Waldorf teachers call their approach “Goethean Science.” As well know as Goethe was as a poet and literary genius, he was a natural scientist as well. He walked a different path from Newton, admitting from the start that any experiment held the experimenter within it – they cannot be excluded. This approach is called “subjective” but Goethe understood what contemporary scientists are realizing: watching is activity and it changes the experience from one of not being observed to one that is.
This Goethean approach carries within it a feeling of responsibility for what we do observe. And it acknowledges that each individual will experience the very same thing a little (or sometimes a lot!) differently from another.
Read Goethe’s essay called Granite, and you will get an understanding for the distinct differences between Newtonian science of the present day and Goethean Science as “subjective” yet responsible in its point of view.
The hope in the hearts of all Waldorf teachers is that this approach of attentive observation, practiced since kindergarten, will ripen as the child becomes an adult with:
- A sense of awe for the many gifts and mysteries of our Earth;
- A feeling of responsibility for the Earth;
- A clear thinking ability that digests observation with steady concentration;
- A deep confidence in the rhythms of the Earth and the seasons;
- And a sense of their own understanding of the Earth and connectedness to the Earth.
The Results of Waldorf Education is a little pamphlet that offers a synopsis of the data from a survey of Waldorf high school graduates. The impressive list of colleges and universities into which 94% of Waldorf graduates are accepted, the high percentage of those who complete their college courses, their sense of and respect for life, their values that do not place high esteem on wealth and status but instead seek families, friends, and stewardship, all speak to an ethical and effective science education in kindergarten, elementary, middle and high school!
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